In its short history, Victory has become one of the UK's leading amplifier brands. Known for its portable lunchbox-style amp heads, the forward-thinking company has made its first step into the pedal world with its V4 series of preamp pedals.
The V4 Design
Taking the sounds of its most popular amp head designs, these fully-analogue, valve-driven V4 stompboxes from Victory can convincingly emulate their full-fledged counterparts. Powered by three CV4014 valves and a single EC900, that genuine tube amp feel and sound is captured.
Boasting two channels and multiple controls for flexible tone-shaping, a Victory V4 preamp pedal can become the centrepiece of your guitar rig. Enclosed within compact steel chassis', you can easily mount these potent-sounding powerhouses to your pedalboard so that your core sounds are literally at your feet!
A Jack Of All Trades!
Victory's 'The Jack' preamp pedal is just one of the several V4 models available, but it is arguably the most versatile. Formerly known as 'The Countess', this unit's new name more suitably signifies its tonal flexibility. With clean and overdrive modes, this stompbox faithfully imitates the tones of Victory's flagship amplifier (which has also been re-named) - stretching from chimey cleans to high-gain British-voiced distortion.
With a wide frequency response, the V4 'The Jack' pedal has an open and dynamic feel, allowing your playing articulation to shine though beautifully. With the original Countess amp developed alongside guitar virtuoso Guthrie Govan, the V4 'The Jack' preamp can cope with even the most eclectic of playing and musical styles - making it an all-encompassing unit.
Much like the amp version of 'The Jack', the V4 preamp pedal features a similar control-set for excellent usability. With a typical 3-band EQ section, the V4 'The Jack' also boasts a bright switch that allows you to tailor the top-end frequencies. This means that if you're using the pedal in conjunction with a dark-sounding amplifier, you can compensate via this thoughtful appointment.
With the ability to switch between two channels via a dedicated footswitch, you can set the amount of gain for each of these modes with the Vol 1 and 2 knobs. Giving you two separate voices, this means that you can essentially create a 3-channel setup when running the V4 into a clean amplifier - with clean, rhythm and lead sounds. You can also control the volumes of these modes via the Master 1 and 2 controls, meaning that you can set one of them louder than the other for a solo boost.
Multiple Routing Possibilities
The most noteworthy aspect of the V4's design is its ability to be used in two particular ways. The most simple method is to plug 'The Jack' directly into the front-end of your amp, much like a conventional overdrive unit. Victory refer to this as 'Standalone Mode'.
While you can achieve great results that way, you can take full advantage of the pedal by routing it through your existing amplifiers's effects loop. Bypassing your amp's preamp stage, you can connect the unit straight to the power section via the effects loop return. Routed this way, when the pedal is disengaged you’re basically using your amp as normal, but when you turn the pedal on you bypass its preamp. This will give your amplifier an almost entirely new voice, character and feel - transforming the sound of your rig as a whole. This is referred to as ‘Amp Through Mode’. Here's a more concise explanation of how this works:
- Amp Through Mode utilises the effects loop of a guitar amp.
- When the pedal is ON, you’re bypassing your amp’s front-end.
- When the pedal is OFF, you’re plugged into your amp as normal.
Another feature that is worthy of note is the Remote Switch input at the side of the chassis. This allows you to flick between the V4's channels with a device like a pedal switcher, via a TRS cable. You can also turn the unit on/off thanks to the Remote Switch functionality, meaning that you can almost fully control the Victory V4 Jack preamp with an external device.
- Two Gain Modes - Vol 1 and Vol 2 are lower and higher gain modes. They can be switched from the top panel or via the ‘remote’ TRS jack on the side of the pedal. Bypass (on/off) is switchable remotely too.
- Bright Switch - Three positions, designed as a global setting to best match the V4 Pedal Preamp to your amp, because effects loops and amp front ends differ dramatically. Choose the one that sounds best.
- Two Master Volumes - Set the output levels of each mode independently, to taste. Set to zero before turning on!
- 3-Band EQ - Powerful bass, middle and treble controls. These also have a significant effect on the gain character and drive levels – just like in any valve guitar amp.
- Protective Rail - Protection for the knobs when you’re stomping.
- Connection Jacks - Clearly labelled so there is no confusion.
- Power Inlet Jack - 12V DC, 800mA minimum. There are four valves, so they need plenty of current! Adapter supplied.
- Valves: 1 x EC900, 3 x CV4014
- Features: Steel chassis, 2 switchable gain modes, remote TRS switching option
- Power: 12V DC / 800mA minimum, DC adapter supplied
- V4 pedals run on a switch mode power supply and ship with the relevant adaptors for each territory
- Size: 225(w) x 140(h) x 79mm(d) inc. feet & knobs
- Weight: 1.65kg (3.6lbs)